Saturday, September 21, 2019

Finding My 100


It took a while to figure out a 100-mile bicycle route in the Las Vegas area.

But now I have it down -- it's a Summerlin to Hoover Dam/Arizona and back ride, following the same route home that I follow to this engineering marvel at the Nevada-Arizona border.





It's a bike ride fashioned to eliminate as many surface roads as possible and use as many paved bike trails as possible.

The truth is I witness how people operate motorized vehicles on our roads in the metro Las Vegas area and I fear the speeding, distracted driving and the incompetence to operate a car inperil my bicyclist safety. Plus, there's the general discomfort of having so many motorists nearly drive their cars into me, which has forced me to seek refuge on trails without the threat of motorists.

People who drive their cars and imperil my life will not keep me from bicycling, which comes as natural to me as breathing.

So I have pieced together a route that follows no less than four different paved trails -- the 215 Western beltway that I pick up at the 215 and Sahara for a ride to the trail end to Tropicana; then I'm back on the 215 trail way down at Warm Springs, and that trail becomes the Pacific Union railroad trail in Henderson, which hooks into the River Mountains Loop trail thanks to a bridge that spans 93 and ties the railroad trail into the River Mountains trail.

And I follow the River Mountains Loop toward the Lake Mead National Rec Area and onto Hoover Dam.




About half of the bicycle route is via trail.

A trail, however, doesn't guarantee your safety. The 215 trail through Henderson south of McCarren Airport has several dangerous crossings because of the design and engineering of the roads that are intersecting the trail at the 215 entrance and exit ramps.

The trailing crossings are dangerous. And crossing St. Rose Parkway is a joke via the 215 trail. There is no crossing. You are forced to bike a half-mile up the road to a traffic signal, cross St. Rose Parkway, and bike on a sidewalk against the flow of traffic with many motorists entering St. Rose from side parking lots and endangering you as you're on a sidewalk trying to reach the continuation of the 215 trail.

Heading home to Summerlin, the 215 trail heading north ends at Warm Springs and I follow Warm Springs across Las Vegas Boulevard and take it west to Valley View, where I turn right and pedal about three miles to Hacienda, where I turn left and head west.

Avoid Las Vegas Boulevard. If you don't take the lane on Las Vegas Boulevard, motorists will stay in their lane and come close to side-swiping you. I took the lane several times on previous rides on Las Vegas Boulevard and found that motorists drive their vehicles very close to me from behind, then darting around me.

But Valley View, which runs parallel to Las Vegas Boulevard is a wide road and quiet on a Saturday.

Plus I enjoyed this Cirque ad vehicle.


I follow Hacienda west to Durango, make a right turn and head north on Durango to Tropicana, where I turn left and bike a mile to the 215 western beltway trail just past the Tropicana entrance on 215. And I head home on the 215 trail in Summerlin.

Summerlin has homeless issues, too. Here's a makeshift tent on the 215 trail bridge spanning Town Center, a road in Summerlin.


It was hard to find a 100-mile ride I could enjoy from my home in Summerlin without driving somewhere else. Biking through Red Rock Canyon and turning right on Nevada State Route 160 to Potosi Mountain is a terrific bike ride but it's a hard climb and wouldn't result in a 100-mile ride with an out-and-back ride.

The Las Vegas area has some terrific rides -- the Red Rock Loop, Mount Charleston's Deer Creek Road and Valley of Fire. The city of Henderson is easily the best government at supporting bicycling with bike trails, while Clark County's government is a joke. City of Las Vegas is a mixed bag -- some OK safe roads to bike like Alta, but lots of other roads that are dangerous.

The Strip seems to have its own planning rules. Clark County should make the Strip safer and more accessible for bicyclists because it's a worker hub. But the county lets the hotel-casino owners call the shots -- ones that are not friendly to bicyclists.

I reached Hoover Dam around 10:30 a.m. and soaked up this feat of engineering. It's a wonder.






Friday, April 26, 2019

Wildflower Wonderland along Red Rock Loop -- Enjoy the High Desert Spring



Remember those freaky snowstorms and rain showers in February? Well. this week's blast of 90-degree weather has conspired with that wet February to release a stunning array of wildflowers along the Red Rock loop.

This morning I cycled the 12+plus mile strip of pavement in the foothills of the Spring Mountains and was intoxicated with the aroma of blossoming cliffside rose and Apache plume flowers that are here for a week-long stay in late April until the hot weather puts an end to their glorious blossoms.

 
The colors of the wildflowers were glorious. It's amazing how these spiky plants can give rise to such stunning colorful beauty in the high desert just outside the sprawling west Vegas suburb of  Summerlin.






Near Ice Box Canyon around Mile 6, there's a wall of cliffrose bushes that's providing an amazing floral aroma. It's down hill there, but I tap the brakes to slow down and smell nature.





No wonder Red Rock Canyon is facing so much more traffic along State Road 159. The word is out about beautiful that corridor is.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Speeding, Impatient and Inattentive Motorists, Beware: LVMPD Is Pulling People Over Near New Ballpark On S. Pavilion Center Drive

I've turned into that grumpy old man in the neighborhood, yelling at speeding motorists endangering lives, drivers who turn in front of me while I stroll through a crosswalk and people who think racing to a red light to just sit and wait is more important than the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

So Sunday when I was on my morning saunter along South Pavilion Center Drive in Summerlin, I thanked a Las Vegas Metro officer for pulling over a driver in front of the new Howard Hughes Corporation baseball park being built along the road and a roundabout. The ballyard opens in early April.


I wrote a recent story about pedestrian and bicyclist safety at the new $150 million minor league ballpark because I witnessed motorists who were speeding, inattentive and impatient along South Pavilion Center -- driving behavior that in my humble opinion will imperil the lives of people crossing the street to reach the ballpark and using the Pavilion Center Drive corridor.

You'll have to excuse if I am just a little agitated over motorist driving behavior. When an inattentive motorist slams his car into you from behind while you're bicycling and you survive thanks to the grace of God, you tend to get a little ticked off when you see people driving motorized vehicles in manners that could kill or maim someone. And yes, I have written a book about this.

Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns the ballpark and the newly re-branded Las Vegas Aviators Triple A team, said it will install pedestrian flashers so walkers can cross South Pavilion Center Drive. That's fine. But educating motorists to slow down and not speed through the roundabouts along South Pavilion Center Drive at the new ballpark would help too.

And then there's Metro traffic police on motorcycles who can stop motorists, too, to conduct their own form of behavior modification


After the distracted motorist slammed his car into me in Florida, I returned to Las Vegas in June 2017 to launch LVSportsBiz.com. But I kept my Bicycle Stories blog alive because in a previous life I quit journalism and was a full-time community bicycle rights and safety activist in the Tampa Bay market. I see Las Vegas could use a little help, too, to protect pedestrians and bicyclists from deadly motorists, so I'll be lending my voice to this issue.

You'll be hearing more from me.




Sunday, December 16, 2018

Long Road Back Focuses on Moving Ahead to the Future



Late Sunday afternoon, I walked onto the Channel 3 set to chat with sports anchor Bryan Salmond and I couldn't believe the giant photos in the slide show that were as big as the room's back wall.



I gasped to myself when I saw my battered face that occupied a major section of the set's wall as part of the slide show.


I've come a long way since March 7, 2017 when a distracted motorist slammed into me, nearly killing me near Fort Pierce on Florida's east coast about 2 1/2 hours north of Miami. The size of photo caught me off guard.

It was a great experience to chat with Bryan at Channel 3.  Please click here to see the segment, Thank you Bryan for allowing me to tell my story.



It's been three weeks since the finished book I wrote on my comeback, return to Las Vegas and launch of LVSportsBiz.com  arrived at my Las Vegas home and promoting and selling, Long Road Back to Las Vegas: How Las Vegas and the Golden Knights healed a journalist's wounds.

In just the past few weeks, I enjoyed selling the book to friends in Tampa and Vero Beach, Fla. at book signings, reading a touching Facebook post by Vegas Golden Knights press box announcer Doug Marsh here in the Las Vegas area and a soaking up a touching review of the book by talented North Carolina writer Willie Drye.

Here's Doug Marsh's post:

Even Cameron Hughes, the sports arena fan igniter. offered a lovely and short review of the book:  "Great read. Inspiring! Full circle magic."

In addition, there was a fun time had by all talking LVSportsBiz.com and the book with Las Vegas sport radio personalities Brian Shapiro and Jason Dick -- We had a great time talking on their 6-8PM radio show on 720AM in Las Vegas.

It's been great talking one-on-one with people at book signings. The next book signing is set for Saturday Dec. 22 at the Giant Las Vegas bike shop in Summerlin at 2283 Rampart Blvd. Here's a flier for the book signing, which will follow the Giant Las Vegas Santa Hat Bike Ride.

Support people who write books by buying their books.

Long Road Back is $12 if you buy the book in person at a book signing and $16 if you would like me to ship you a copy. Email me at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com to arrange buying a book.

Or, you can buy the book on Amazon here.



Monday, December 3, 2018


When I inform people that a motorist rammed his car into me from behind on a quiet two-lane road in Florida, nearly claiming my life in March 2017, they ask, “What was the driver charged with by police?”

They assume there must be some type of negligent driving citation – especially when the motorist admitted to the deputy officer shortly after 8 a.m. March 7 that he didn’t see me in the roadway because he diverted his attention from the road to seeking his breathing inhaler in Chevy Cruze.

But the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office never issued a ticket to driver Dennis Brophy for slamming his car into me as I bicycled on a road in a small town called St. Lucie Village near Fort Pierce on Florida’s East Coast.

The anger and bitterness of a police agency not citing a motorist for hitting me with his car, causing two broken vertebra, a bad concussion (a helmet saved me) and a battered right leg helped fueled my motivation to write a book about the recovery and my return to Las Vegas to start a business-news website covering Las Vegas’ expanding sports industry.



I was back in Florida for my nephew’s wedding this past weekend. And I took the opportunity to also weave in book signings in Tampa and Vero Beach and make a pit stop off I-95 that I did not plan.

It was a spur-of-the-moment decision in my way to the airport in Orlando to drop in on the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office administration building on Midway Road, about 10 minutes east of the interstate.
  
I thought I would give a book to the sheriff with an inscription that asked for an apology for never giving a ticket to a motorist who nearly killed me.
  
I went to the information desk and I asked to talk with the deputy sitting behind the protective, transparent barrier.
  
Deputy Alex Feola left his chair and came around the information booth to chat with me in the sheriff’s office lobby.

Feola was polite and professional. He looked like a fit 50-something and was disarming in his talking style. He was also empathetic. He shared that he understood the pain of knowing what it’s like to be hit by a car and not receive justice.

The deputy said his niece was killed by a drunk driver in Martin County with the driver avoiding jail time with an insanity defense that he said he was bought by the judge. He noted the killer of his brother’s daughter ended up in a home in Port St. Lucie, the biggest city in St. Lucie County, which is about two hours north of Miami.

Feola, as it turned out, was also a former New Yorker. He was from the Bronx before moving to St. Lucie County some 35 years ago, while I was born in Brooklyn and moved to Florida to work for the Palm Beach Post to report on the city of Port St. Lucie in 1994.

I explained to the deputy that I don’t harbor a grudge or any sense of vengeance, but I would like Sheriff Ken Mascara to read my book and get back to me about why a distracted driver who smashed into me while I bicycled March 7, 2017 did not even receive a ticket for failing to pass a bicyclist by a minimum distance of three feet – which is law in Florida.

Feola had a calming presence about him and we chatted for about 15 minutes or so. It was a good conversation and I gave him my LVSportsBiz.com business card, which he tucked inside the book. I wrote my number on the business card and Feola said the sheriff may call.

He said I survived the crash to continue my work, while I offered my condolences for losing a niece who had her whole life in front of her at 23 years old.

It was a respectful conversation. But I wonder if I’ll ever hear from the sheriff.

Monday, September 25, 2017

My High 5 Products at Interbike 2017 -- Last One in Las Vegas

It was sad to see Interbike say adios to Las Vegas last week. There was a subdued vibe to the entire week, a quiet acknowledgement for the fate of the national bicycle trade show heading to Reno in 2018.

But Bicycle Stories enjoyed re-connecting with old bikey friends and seeing products. Las year Bicycle Stories inaugurated its Top 5 list of products that caught my eye and here is that list.

1. Athlos Sports custom bike gear. Dave Manchester took my friend Malanda Schmitz's artwork of my dog Pugsy and made it into a wonderful LVSportsBiz.com bike jersey.  Check out Athos at its website.



2. After a car crashed into me from behind in March, I have made it a priority to use a mirror when bicycling. I first used a mirror that I mounted on my sunglasses. Now I use a much bigger mirror that offers me a good look at what is behind me thank to a sample mirror given to me by Brett Flemming of Efficient Velo Tools of Portland, OR. I mounted Brett's mirror on my bike helmet with only two ties and it's part of my daily bike ride. Check Efficient Velo at its website here. There's Brett.


And there's the mirror attached to the helmet.



3. There are some good bike socks out there. My favorite socks come from Darn Tough of Vermont. Check out their socks at their website here. They make socks for all sports.


4. I snacked on protein bars made by RxBar. They're from Chicago and it's probably the healthiest food in that city. I met the RxBar reps at last Monday's Outdoor Demo and saw them again at the trade show. Check out the RxBars at their website here.


5. My final product of Las Vegas is the Scooterboard, an electric three-wheeled skateboard with a single-handed handle that looks like it would be a nice device to get around densely-populated areas to get to class, home, work or the store. It's a 22-pounder with top speed of 15.5 mph and has a range of 7.5 miles on a single charge. The charge takes about 2.5 hours. Its owner is Rose Wang, a go-getter with a can-do attitude. She impressed me with her tenacity and kickstarter skills. The kickstarter is live through Sept. 28. Good luck Rose. Check her product out at its website.

See you in Reno.

Good-bye Interbike Las Vegas. Last scene as I left Friday at 2 p.m.